MONTVILLE, NJ - Despite being shut out by Fielder's Choice/High Point earlier in the week, the Montville 9U Travel Baseball Team bounced right back when they routed the NJ Crush in a 16-8 offensive showcase.
The Montville Mustangs hit hard, hit often, and hit early as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first thanks to a three-run home run by Hunter Force. After Christian Zurawlow drove in Eli Kaufman on a fielder's choice to third, Force came to the plate and sent home Zurawlow and Wyatt Lang with his hit to right field.
After the Crush cut the lead in half in the second, the Mustangs struck again in the form of yet another home run. This time, Jason Vogt rounded the bases on a fly ball to right field.
“Two home runs is not common in nine-year-old travel baseball,” said Montville assistant coach Shane Force. “Our boys hit very well.”
Just before the half-way point, things started to look bleak for the Mustangs. In the top of the third, an infield error resulted in two runs crossing the plate for the Crush. The next batter hit a shot that resulted in another error by Montville that tied the game at five. Finally, after the go-ahead run scored on a single, Montville was able close out the top half.
Surprisingly, the third-inning rally by the Crush seemed to inspire Montville that much more. In the bottom of the third, Montville took back a two-run lead before recording a single out. RBIs from Force, Neal Gupta, and Chase Tarnoff kicked off what would be another Montville attack.
Over the course of the fourth and fifth innings, the Mustangs completely dominated the Crush. With rock-solid defense, it was all up to the hitting to really help ensure the win. As the Montville bats came to life, the distance between the two teams continued to steadily increase.
“I would say that we hit, hit and hit some more,” said head coach Eric Kirshner. “A great day with the bat for all the boys.”
With 16 hits, 16 runs, 9 walks and 11 stolen bases on the day, Montville easily confirmed that they can be an offensive beast. One of Montville's strongest characteristics is that their entire lineup can contribute, with speed and power spread across the whole team.
“The kids all had good at bats and they played aggressive on the base paths,” said assistant coach Adam Kaufman. “The boys' offense was unstoppable.”
Zurawlow and Mike Fedele both pitched three innings each for Montville. Zurawlow had five strikeouts and Fedele had three strikeouts in their winning performance.